Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH
NASW was a proud co-sponsor of the celebration of Women Appointees of the Obama Administration. Sponsored by the Coalition for Women’s Appointments (of which NASW is a member), the event, held on September 29, was appropriately held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
Irene Natividad, Chair of the Coalition for Women’s Appointments and President of the Global Summit of Women welcomed the large group and spoke of the importance of recognizing women’s talents in government. Over 335 appointees were present. Nancy Hogan, Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel remarked that we will need a bigger room next year as over a thousand women have been appointed so far with 143 being Senate approved. She also pointed out that although we’ve made great strides, women are still underrepresented. She further challenged us to find five qualified women to sign on to White House Presidential Appointments Application website.
Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council for Women and Girls also spoke about the issues concerning women and girls and the responsibility of all of federal government to address these challenges. We have worked consistently with Ms. Tchen and she looks forward to continuing her work with the women’s groups.
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offered remarks as well. The Coalition for Women’s Appointments identified Secy. Sebelius as their first choice for Secretary of HHS. She spoke of the importance of health care reform, noting that it is the number one issue for the Administration and likened it to the struggle of the suffragettes who worked for many years for passage of the 19th Amendment. She stated that, “reform will change the world for women.”
Secy. Sebelius also introduced social worker Carmen Nazario, who was recently appointed as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. Until her recent nomination, Carmen Nazario was an Assistant Professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she taught social policy and coordinated the Social Work Practicum at the School of Social Work. Nazario has vast experience in public service with a focus on improving services to children and families within the United States and around the world, dating back to 1968.